Can You File Taxes for Previous Years Online?

Woman files taxes with TaxSlayer

Life is full of curveballs, and sometimes things just slip through the cracks. If you have taxes that are past due, you’re probably wondering where to start. Has the deadline officially come and gone, or can you still file taxes for previous years? Fortunately, you can! We’ll walk you through it. 

How do I file back tax returns?

There are a couple of ways you can file and submit your return for back taxes. You can complete and mail in a paper return, or you can file your return(s) electronically (online). Filing prior year tax returns online can save you a lot of time and effort.  

When you file back taxes with TaxSlayer, you get all the correct forms and instructions for the specific year you are completing. Taxes change every year, and it can be challenging to find the correct forms and instructions you need on the IRS website.   

How many years can you file back taxes?  

You can file returns up to three years old with TaxSlayer. For instance, in 2019, you can file returns for tax years 2016 to 2019. If needed, you can file back further using another filing method, but the IRS typically does not investigate returns that are more than six years overdue. In other words, if your taxes are in question, your past six years of tax returns are usually the only ones that would be considered for auditing.  

You can find more information about preparing a prior year return here.  

Can I still get my tax refund if I’m filing back taxes? 

Yes, if you file the return within three years of the original due date. This time limit also applies to claiming tax credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Tax credits and deductions can significantly reduce your tax liability, so it’s in your best interest to file within this three-year window to get the tax breaks and the refund you deserve. If you have a prior year return that you still need to file, you can get started for free today with TaxSlayer

The information in this article is current through tax year 2019. 

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